Iowa State vs Washington State -3 (o/u 55)
After starting out the season at 1-3, the Iowa State Cyclones caught fire and finished out the season winning 7 of its last 8 games to go to 8-4. Along the way, they beat a very good West Virginia team 30-14. A quick look at the team’s stats makes one wonder how they could achieve so much success with a very limited offense. The fact is the offense finished 198th in the country with only 358 YPG. A closer look at the stats reveals Iowa State had a strong defense (33rd in country, 351 YPG allowed), particularly strong against the run where they held opponents to just over 122 YPG rushing. RB David Montgomery was a real workhorse on offense, carrying the ball 231 times for 1,092 yards and 12 TDs.
The Cougars of Washington State (10-2) challenges for the Pac 12 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, they fell 28-15 at the hands of in-state rival Washington in the team’s Pac 12 closer to miss out on a chance to play for the conference championship. Throughout the entire season, the Cougars focused almost solely on the passing game where they ended up ranked 3rd in the country with 379.8 YPG. Pro-prospect Gardner Minshew II completed an amazing 70.6% of his passes for 4,477 for 36 TDS and only 8 interceptions. He also added another 3 TDs rushing. A very deep wide receiver corps consisted of 8 players who caught at least 25 passes for at least 280 yards. The 30th ranked defense more than held its own, keeping teams at bay, giving up 20 or fewer points on 6 occasions.
Prediction: If Iowa State has any weakness on defense, it’s in the secondary. This is a good Washington State offense and QB Minshew II will try to exploit Iowa State’s weakness. There’s a very good chance he will be successful. It’s a controlled passing game that tends to wear out defenses. Washington State’s defense figures stymie an Iowa State offense that lacks big-play capabilities. This is a potential blowout. Play Washington State -3